Rose window

Delicate brooch with old cut diamonds in platinum, around 1910

Designs like this one were aptly called "dessins dentelles" in the early 20th century: For they appeared so light and filigree that they were reminiscent of fine lace. This delicacy was only made possible by the use of platinum, which began its triumphant advance during the Belle Époque. Its special hardness made it possible to reduce the amount of metal required while at the same time maintaining stability - this enabled goldsmiths to create filigree designs that were not possible in pure gold or silver. No other precious stone was as popular in these creations as the diamond, whose brilliance and white color perfected the ethereal impression. A total of about 4.17 ct of old-cut diamonds were also used in the present brooch and occupy the entire surface except for the fine so-called knife edges, which connect the individual elements of the concentrically constructed design with millimetre precision. No matter how the brooch faces the light, at least one of the diamonds always catches it to reflect it radiantly back. The finest millet handles also line the bars and settings of the diamonds, making the brooch appear even more detailed. The design looks like a Gothic rose window, or like a delicate spider's web set with dew; associations that were not alien to the era, which loved all things dreamy and ethereal. Thus the brooch appears as if it could hardly have been created by human hands - and yet, quite mundanely, it was once worn to festive soirées and balls, for diamond jewellery was reserved for the evening and thus for the new electric lighting, which made the white jewels shine and sparkle as never before.

With the invention of gaslight and then electric light at the end of the 19th century, glistening brightness suddenly filled the ballrooms of Europe. No longer dark, yellow candlelight, but the white glow of hundreds of lamps made the ladies' jewellery shine and glitter as never before. No wonder that as a result of these developments, a new fashion also emerged: white jewels made of diamonds and silver responded to the new lighting conditions and replaced the previous more colourful designs. In general, jewellery was increasingly richly set with sparkling gems to create an ever more luxurious and rich appearance. At the great balls in Paris, London and St. Petersburg, ever more magnificent diamond necklaces were presented, as well as tiaras, brooches and rings, all dreams in white diamonds. The name of the era, the Belle Époque, still indicates the goal of the period: To shine in beauty. But the fashion for white jewellery also remained current in the following decades, right up to the Art Déco of the 1920s. Only the materials of the settings changed. The rapidly tarnishing silver was first replaced by platinum settings and later by jewellery made entirely of platinum or the white gold developed shortly before the world war.

We want you to be 100% satisfied! For that reason, we examine, describe and photograph all of our jewellery with the utmost care.

You can rely on our years of experience in the trade and our expertise as a professional art historians for reviews of the antique jewellery. As a member of various trader organisations and the British Society of Jewellery Historians, we remain committed to the highest possible degree of accuracy. In our descriptions, we always also indicate any signs of age and defects and never hide them in our photos – this saves you from any unpleasant surprises when your package arrives.

Should you for some reason not be satisfied, please don’t hesitate to contact us so that we can begin to find a solution together. In any case, you can return any article within 30 days and we will refund the full purchase price.


OUR PROMISE

We want you to be 100% satisfied! That’s why we examine, describe and photograph all our jewellery with the utmost care.

If for any reason you are still not satisfied, contact us and we will find a mutual solution immediately. Regardless, you can return any item within 30 days and we will refund you the full purchase price.

Play